Eugene Gerden


Eugene Gerden writes about the Russian auto industry from his base in St. Petersburg.

Ford’s Russian JV Shifting Focus to SUVs, CUVs
The decision mainly is the result of a significant decline in demand for Ford sedans and hatchbacks among Russian consumers, as well as competition in the form of lower-priced small cars from South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia.
Russia Hopes Transport Subsidies Will Boost Exports
Currently, subsidies range from 20% of transport costs for global manufacturers in Russia to 60%-80% for domestic brands and global companies whose level of localization – primarily parts purchases but also R&D spending – exceeds 50%.
Volkswagen Resuming Audi Production in Russia
The lineup likely may include SUVs and CUVs, segments that have performed well in Russia as the industry shows signs of emerging from a slump now in its fourth year.
Russian Automaker AvtoVAZ Expanding Model Range
Overall, the company plans to launch the production of eight new models, with another eight to be updated by 2025.
Marketing Missteps Make Jeep Underachiever in Russia
Mikhail Gevorkov, a co-owner of St. Petersburg-based Autocenter Aurora, says FCA has not been importing updated versions of vehicles for which demand in Russia is the greatest.
Skoda Making Push Into Recovering Russian Market
Skoda plans to boost sales of its Octavia hatchback/station wagon– the company’s best seller in Russia, accounting for 20% of sales– as well as the CUVs that have held up well despite the overall market’s lagging performance.
Russia Eyes Automaker Investment Contracts
Expiration of the current tit-for-tat of local assembly in return for state benefits, which was established a decade ago, begins next year and concludes in 2019.
Ford Sollers Joint Venture Making Comeback in Russia
The Ford Sollers joint manufacturing venture between Ford and Russian automaker Sollers saw 2016 sales increase 10.2% from prior-year to 42,528 units, according to WardsAuto data. The overall market fell 11% to 1.4 million deliveries.
Hyundai Launches Russian Output of Popular Solaris
The Solaris’ launch, combined with the Sonata’s return and more active promotion of the Creta CUV, should result in sales growth of 10%-12%, Hyundai says.
Mitsubishi Banking on CUVs to Aid in Russia Recovery
The automaker is focusing its Russia strategy on an upcoming new version of its Outlander and a new, diesel-powered Pajero Sport, which combine for 80% of Mitsubishi sales in a market where CUVs are among the few bright spots.
Russia Looks to Boost Exports Amid Domestic Slump
The proposed subsidies do not have unanimous support from the government. Officials with the Ministry of the Economy, for example, believe ongoing state support could leave automakers without incentives to cut costs or improve product quality.
Utility Vehicles Prop Up Foundering Russian Market
The utility vehicles’ share of the Russian market through the first 10 months of 2016 was 38.4%, up from 35.8% a year earlier.
Russia Ties Automaker Aid to Expanding Facilities
A Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesman says the new rule governing distribution of 2017 subsidies is a response to a shortage of facilities where car owners can have their vehicles serviced.
Russian Official Predicts 7% Boost in 2017 Output
Production is running below 50% of capacity in response to a sales slump dating back to 2012. Light-vehicle deliveries fell just 2.5% in October but were down 13.2% during the year’s first 10 months, according to WardsAuto data.
Daimler Considering New Russian Mercedes-Benz Plant
Government sources say Daimler could sign an investment contract committing it to localizing parts purchases, design new technologies and products and create new jobs in exchange for government tax breaks, customs relief and other benefits.


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